The legitimacy and validity of the entire
Mormon church rested squarely upon its declaration that
Joseph Smith was a genuine prophet of God. If he was
not, then the Mormon church has been guilty of promoting
a false prophet to the world for over 170 years.
Mormons themselves freely confess that
upon the authority of Joseph Smith the church stands or
falls. If he was a false prophet, the church cannot be
genuine. This is why the issue of prophecy is so vital.
Apostle James Talmage said of Smith, "If his claims to
divine appointment be false, forming as they do the
foundation of the church in this last dispensation, the
superstructure cannot be stable."1
Given this, Mormon authorities have no choice but to
perpetuate the claim that Joseph Smith was a true
prophet and that his hundreds of prophecies were
"literally fulfilled," and are therefore the "marvelous
proof" of his divine appointment. For example, the late
leading doctrinal theologian Bruce McConkie argues:
works it shall be known whether professing ministers
of religion are true or false prophets. Joseph Smith
was a true prophet. What fruits did he leave? There is
probably more evidence of his divine call and mission
than of any other prophet who ever lived, Jesus
himself only excepted. Joseph Smith has... uttered
hundreds of prophecies which have been literally
Joseph Smith himself emphasized that one
who claims to be a true prophet of God must have his
prophecies evaluated by the standard of God’s Word. By
his statement "the ancient Word of God" he clearly
referred to biblical standards in part:
way of ascertaining a true prophet is to compare his
prophecies with the ancient Word of God, and see if
they agree, and if they do and come to pass, then
certainly he is a true prophet.... When, therefore any
man, no matter who, or how high his standing
may be, utters, or publishes, anything that afterwards
proves to be untrue, he is a false prophet.3
By Joseph Smith’s own words, then, he is
proven to be a false prophet. And by the very words of
Mormon authorities the Mormon religion also is proven to
be fraudulent. Not only do the many prophecies given by
Joseph Smith in Doctrine and Covenants deny every
biblical doctrine they comment upon, but Joseph Smith’s
specific predictions of future events have also
characteristically proven wrong. While we have not
studied every alleged prophecy Mormons claim for Smith,
every one we did study proved false.
In 1844, while in jail, Smith was killed
by an angry group of townspeople. By that time, he had
uttered scores of prophecies "in the name of the Lord."
But according to biblical standards, anyone who claims
to be a prophet must prove himself so by establishing a
perfect record of prediction. Again, the biblical
requirement is for absolute accuracy in prophetic
revelation. What this means is that a single false
prophecy—just one—is sufficient to establish a person as
a false prophet. God Himself warned all men:
prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I
have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks
in the name of other gods, must be put to death." You
may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message
has not been spoken by the Lord?" If what a prophet
proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place
or come true, that is a message the Lord has not
spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not
be afraid of him (Deut. 18:20-22 NIV).
In other words, if anyone spoke in the
name of the Lord (Joseph Smith), but spoke
presumptuously (Joseph Smith), or in the name of other
gods (Joseph Smith), and if the prophecy did not come
true (Joseph Smith), that prophet was to die—as,
unfortunately, Joseph Smith did in 1844. When Mormon
authorities claim that Smith’s prophetic record is
infallible and that this proves him a true prophet, they
are regrettably only continuing the well-established
tradition of Mormon distortion in religious matters.
Mormons have in fact devised various ways
to "explain" Smith’s many false prophecies. There are so
many different rationalizations that one wearies of
reading them. For example, they may claim, as Smith
himself did, that a prophet is only a prophet when he is
acting as such—that is, presumably, when he claims to
speak in the name of the Lord and is therefore under
divine inspiration. Mormons claim that any errors which
do exist were, therefore, given when Smith was not
"acting" as a prophet.
However, since many of Smith’s false
prophecies were given "as a prophet," when he
was speaking in the name of the Lord, the
explanation is irrelevant.
For anyone who lets words mean what they
say, the inescapable conclusion is that, according to
biblical standards, Joseph Smith was a false prophet.
Just as the single act of marital infidelity or a single
premeditated killing makes a person an adulterer or a
murderer, so a single false prophecy makes one a false
prophet.4 Joseph Smith himself agreed to that
In the following cases, we include
examples where Smith clearly prophesied "in the name of
the Lord," so there can be no mistake that the prophecy
was being claimed as divine.
The Canadian Prophecy
David Whitmer (one of the three principal
witnesses to the Book of Mormon) tells a highly
relevant story which not only reveals Smith to be a
false prophet, but sprouts seeds of doubt about any
purported prophecy or revelation Smith claimed to
receive. Just as the Mormon scriptures, in particular
Doctrine and Covenants, contain the "feel" of occult
revelation, here we also sample the flavor of
Here is the story in Whitmer’s own words:
Book of Mormon was in the hands of the printer, more
money was needed to finish the printing of it....
Brother Hyrum said it had been suggested to him that
some of the brethren might go to Toronto, Canada and
sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon for
considerable money: and he persuaded Joseph to inquire
of the Lord about it. Joseph concluded to do so. He
had not yet given up the [seer] stone. Joseph looked
into the hat in which he placed the stone, and
received a revelation that some of the brethren
should go to Toronto, Canada, and that they would
sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon. Hyrum
Page and Oliver Crowdery went to Toronto on this
mission, but they failed entirely to sell the
copyright, returning without any money. Joseph was
at my father’s house when they returned. I was there
also, and am an eyewitness to these facts.
Jacob Whitmer and John Whitmer were also present when
Hyrum Page and Oliver Crowdery returned from Canada.
were all in great trouble; and we asked Joseph how it
was that he had received a revelation from the Lord
for some brethren to go to Toronto and sell the
copy-right and the brethren had utterly failed in
their undertaking. Joseph did not know how it was, so
he inquired of the Lord about it, and behold the
following revelation came through the stone:
revelations are of God: some revelations are of man:
and some revelations are of the devil.
So we see
that [even though Smith claimed it was] the revelation
to go to Toronto and sell the copyright was not of
God, but was of the devil or of the heart of man....
This was a lesson for our benefit and we should
have profited by it in [the] future more than we did.
Whitmer concludes his discussion with a
warning to every living Mormon:
this matter brethren; it is very important.... Now is
it wisdom to put your trust in Joseph Smith, and
believe all his revelations in the Doctrine and
Covenants to be of God?... I will say here, that I
could tell you other false revelations that
came through Brother Joseph as mouthpiece (not through
the stone), but this will suffice. Many of Brother
Joseph’s revelations were never printed. The
revelation to go to Canada was written down on paper,
but was never printed (emphasis added).5
Let’s consider this account carefully.
Smith and the other Mormons were obviously convinced of
the divine authority of the initial revelation—or else
they would never have taken the difficult journey to
Canada. When the prophecy inexplicably failed, they
naturally sought an answer from God (by occult
means)—and what happened? They received a reply that
could not help but strike dread into their hearts: "Some
revelations are of God; some revelations are of man; and
some revelations are of the devil." Apparently, then,
there was no way to distinguish a true prophecy from a
Thus, if this false revelation was
indistinguishable from the genuine revelations of
Smith, how can Mormons today know that any of Smith’s
revelations were legitimate? And what does this fact do
to the credibility of the revelations given by any
Mormon president and prophet? What is worse, such
revelations will never be objectively verified or
invalidated. Why? Because the Bible itself is rejected
by Mormonism as a reliable authority. This means that
the only "Scripture" left to test such revelation by is
Mormon scripture, which is itself contradictory and
perpetually "open." New revelations can come at any time
and be added to the canon of scripture. Whether or not
they contradict earlier revelation is irrelevant. In the
end, we see that no Mormon should logically place trust
in any of Smith’s prophecies (or any of his other
revelations) because 1) they could just as easily be
false as true, and 2) there is no way to tell the
difference until it is too late.
Doctrine and Covenants
Nevertheless, we will proceed to document
some of the false prophecies of Joseph Smith. Let us
begin with the alleged scripture. Doctrine and
Covenants. The first false prophecy is found in
chapter one, where "God" Himself promises that the
prophecies in the book are all true and will come to
these commandments, for they are true and faithful,
and the prophecies and promises which are in them
shall all be fulfilled. What I the Lord have
spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself;
and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my
word shall not pass away, but shall all be
fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the
voice of my servants, it is the same. For behold,
and lo, the Lord is God, and the Spirit beareth
record, and the record is true, and the truth
abides forever and ever. Amen (D&C, 1:37,38, emphasis
Note that this section of Mormon
scripture claims first, that the commandments "are true"
and that the prophecies and promises "shall all be
fulfilled"; second, that the Mormon deity is placing his
own authority on the line when he says, "I excuse not
myself" (for having spoken them), and third, that the
prophecies "shall all be fulfilled" whether by God’s own
voice "or by the voice of my servants"—which is the same
These claims leave no room to maneuver: A
single indisputable false prophecy anywhere in
Doctrine and Covenants will completely invalidate
the entire book. Obviously, then, the existence of
dozens and scores of false prophecies in Doctrine and
Covenants means that Mormons who trust this book are
being deceived. If 1) the Mormon God has spoken falsely,
and 2) "some revelations are of God, some revelations
are of men, and some revelations are of the devil," and
3) there is no way of knowing which are which, then the
logical conclusion is that 4) Mormons should not place
their trust in any of them. We will now prove that
Doctrine and Covenants contains false prophecies.
The City and Temple Prophecy
In a revelation given to Joseph Smith on
September 22 and 23, 1832, "the word of the Lord"
declares that both a city and a temple are to be built
"in the western boundaries of the state of Missouri"
(that is, in Independence, Missouri):
revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph
Smith, Jun[ior].... Yea, the word of the Lord
concerning his church... for the gathering of his
saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the
city of New Jerusalem. Which city shall be built,
beginning at the temple lot... in the western
boundaries of the state of Missouri, and dedicated
by the hand of Joseph Smith.... Verily this is the
word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem
shall be built by the gathering of saints, beginning
at this place, even the place of the temple, which
temple shall be reared in this generation. For
verily this generation shall not all pass away
until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a
cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even
the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house....
Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses—for
the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron shall
offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the
house of the Lord, which house shall be built
under the Lord in this generation, upon the
consecrated spot as I have appointed (D&C,
84:1-5, 31, emphasis added).
This prophecy clearly teaches that a
temple and a city will be built in western Missouri in
the generation of the men then living and that it
will be dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith himself.
This temple will stand (in western Missouri) "upon Mount
Zion" and the city will be named "the city of New
Jerusalem." It was to be the place Christ returned to at
His Second Coming.6
In Doctrine and Covenants, 97:19
(August, 1833) and 101:17-21 (December, 1833), God
further declares that He is absolutely certain as to His
intent and the location of this temple: "Zion cannot
fall, nor be moved out of her place, for God is there,
and the hand of the Lord is there," and "there is none
other place appointed than that which I have appointed;
neither shall there be any other place."
It is interesting to note that on July
20, 1833, when Smith was giving this prophecy in
Kirtland, Ohio—and unaware of the events taking place in
Missouri—the Mormon community had already agreed to
leave Missouri because of "persecution." In other words,
even as Smith was giving the prophecy "in the name of
the Lord," "Zion" was already being "moved out of her
How do Mormons respond? They claim the
prophecy failed because the Mormon community itself was
unfaithful. However, how can Mormons credibly claim this
when the church itself was being "persecuted"? Surely,
if they had not been living as committed and zealous
Mormons, they would never have encountered the social
response they did. It was thus undoubtedly the
faithful Mormons who were driven from Missouri,
leaving the prophecy unfulfilled. And even Mormon
historians concede that when they moved to Quincy,
Illinois, their promised Missouri "temple" comprised
only four cornerstones.8
In the ensuing 160 years no temple has
ever been built in western Missouri, let alone a Mormon
city. Thus Joseph Smith never dedicated a temple, nor
were sacrifices offered there. It was not built in "this
generation," no cloud "rested upon" the temple, etc.
This revelation alone thus contains at least four
false prophecies. Neither can Mormons logically claim
that Zion was "reestablished" in Salt Lake City, for the
December 1833 prophecy clearly says there will be "none
other place" than the western boundaries of Missouri.
Nevertheless, the Mormon reaction to this
prediction illustrates the basic Mormon approach to
their many false prophecies. Divine predictions are
vigorously maintained until proven false. Then they are
rationalized. Consider the following train of events.
In spite of being driven from Missouri,
the early Mormons intended to return and fulfill the
prophecy. In 1861, thirty years after the prophecy was
first given, Apostle George Smith emphasized, "Let me
remind you that it is predicted that this generation
shall not pass away till a temple shall be built, and
the glory of the Lord rest upon it, according to the
Then in 1870, almost forty years after
the prophecy, Apostle Orson Pratt stated that Mormons
could expect a literal fulfillment of the prophecy as
much as they do the rising and setting of the sun. Why?
"Because God cannot lie. He will fulfill all his
promises. He has spoken, it must come to pass. This
is our faith!"10
Perhaps sensing a growing problem, the
1890 edition of Doctrine and Covenants (almost
sixty years later) carried a footnote declaring that a
generation lasted more than a hundred years.11
This note is not found in modern editions of
Doctrine and Covenants.
Again, in 1900, almost seventy years
later, the fifth Mormon president and prophet, Lorenzo
Snow, reiterated that Mormons would still go back and
build the divinely prophesied temple.12
Even in 1931, ninety-nine years after the
prophecy (when "that generation" would surely have been
dead), the tenth president and prophet of the Mormon
church, Joseph Fielding Smith, was stating his "firm
belief" that the temple and city would be built. Thus,
he promises that when the temple is reared it will be
that generation who were living when this revelation
was given.... I have full confidence in the word of
the Lord that it shall not fail.... We have not
been released from this responsibility, nor shall we
be. The word of the Lord will not fail.... No
matter what the correct interpretation may be, the
fact remains that the city Zion, or New
Jerusalem, will eventually be built in Jackson
County, Missouri and the temple of the Lord will
also be constructed.13
Incredibly, recent editions of Smith’s
book (e.g., 1975) continue to retain this embarrassing
statement! Logically, one would think that he would have
had to confess that his "full confidence in the word of
the Lord" proved futile. Who could disagree with his
words when he stated in a more recent text: "It is also
reasonable to believe that no soul living in 1832, is
still living in mortality on the earth."14
It is now more than 160 years since the
prophecy, and neither the temple nor the city has been
built. There is no way to escape the conclusion that
this prophecy is false. But, of course, since Mormonism
assumes that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God,
this cannot possibly be a false prophecy. So the process
of rationalization sets in. For example, Joseph Fielding
Smith dealt with the problem by finally claiming that
the term "generation" meant an indefinite period
of time and that, due to "persecution," God had
"absolved the saints and postponed the day."15
Now everyone could relax. There never was
a false prophecy.
For some reason, Mormon presidents,
prophets and leaders see "no conflict whatever" between
the outcome of the prophecy just cited and the teaching
of the Book of Mormon in Nephi 3:7 which says,
"The Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of
men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may
accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."
What is most disconcerting is that modern
Mormons do not seem to be concerned with such an
unquestionably false prophecy and refuse to recognize
They continue to believe, and to teach others, that
Doctrine and Covenants is the inerrant "word of the
The Civil War Prophecy
The Civil War prophecy represents another
false prediction. It is found in Doctrine and
Covenants 87:1-8, concerning a prophecy given on
December 25, 1832. In his Articles of Faith,
James Talmage refers to "the facts establishing a
complete fulfillment of this astounding prophecy."17
However, there was no "complete
fulfillment," neither was the prophecy "astounding." It
was patently false. What is astounding is that Talmage
applies the 1832 prophecy to World War I (1914-1918)
when it has nothing at all to do with that war. Indeed,
to apply the prophecy to World War I only increases the
magnitude of its errors. For one thing, its own
declaration requires it be applied to the "wars that
will shortly come to pass, beginning... at South
Carolina." The prophecy declares:
thus sayeth the Lord concerning the wars that will
shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of
South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the
death and misery of many souls; And the time will come
when that war will be poured out upon all nations,
beginning at this place.... And the Southern States
will call on other nations, even the nation of Great
Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call
upon other nations, in order to defend themselves
against other nations; and then war shall be poured
out upon all nations.... And thus, with the
sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of earth
shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and
earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce
and vivid lightening also, shall the inhabitants of
the earth be made to feel the wrath, and
indignation, and chastening hand of Almighty God until
the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all
Joseph Smith made other predictions
relating to this great war. Elsewhere he spoke another
false prophecy when he declared "in the name of the Lord
God" that these tumultuous events would precede the
Second Coming of Jesus Christ:
[sic], in the name of the Lord God, that the
commencement of the difficulties which will cause much
bloodshed previous to the coming of the Son of man
will be in South Carolina. It may probably arise
through the slave question. This a voice declared to
me while I was praying earnestly on the subject,
December 25, 1832.19
But listening to voices can be perilous.
In looking at this prophecy, we should
note several facts. First, it has been demonstrated
historically that Smith could have expected a civil war,
hence to write of an expected war, one that is public
knowledge, is hardly "astounding." For example, "Joseph
Smith was familiar with the fact that South Carolina had
rebelled at the time he gave the revelation."20
Also, "many people believed there would be a civil war
before it actually took place."21 For
example, five months previous to Smith’s
"revelation," on July 14, 1832, Congress passed a tariff
act, refused by South Carolina, and Andrew Jackson
alerted the troops. So, even at this time, "the nation
was fully expecting a Civil War to begin promptly in
Second, even God Himself didn’t seem to
know whether or not this great war would arise over the
issue of slavery. (He said, "It may probably
arise through the slave question.")
Third, the revelation itself was wrong on
numerous counts. First, the war did not start until
1861, thirty years later—it did not "come to pass
shortly." Second, war was not "poured out upon all
nations" but only on one nation. Third, there were no
"earthquakes," "thunder of heaven," or lightening which
struck the "inhabitants of the earth" as evidence of
God’s wrath. Nor did the remainder of the earth’s
population feel "the wrath of Almighty God." Fourth,
there was hardly "a full end of all nations."
Finally, Smith’s revelation on the war
was not printed until 1851, almost twenty years after
the revelation, and "Mormon leaders have suppressed part
of Joseph Smith’s diary which tended to discredit the
revelation."23 (This concerned a "dream
interpretation" of the prophecy which stated that the
United States Government would call on Joseph Smith to
defend the "western territory" against England. Smith
was obviously dead at the start of the Civil War, thus
the interpretation was false, which cast doubt on the
revelation itself.24) In conclusion, no one
can deny that this is another false prophecy.
Brigham Young was also guilty of false
prophecy relating to the Civil War. He predicted that
the war would not end until it had emptied the land to
allow Mormons to return to Missouri, something that was
never fulfilled.25 He also predicted that the
slaves would not be freed: "Will the present
struggle free the slaves? No;... they cannot do that."26
Joseph Smith’s Civil War prophecy and his
"Rocky Mountain" prophecy are considered his "most
important prophecies."27 We have seen that
the first is a false prophecy; and the Tanners have
documented that the latter is not worth considering in
that it is a "forgery which was written after Joseph
The Second Coming
Along with Jehovah’s Witnesses and
Seventh-day Adventists, Joseph Smith predicted that the
Second Coming of Christ would occur in the latter part
of the nineteenth century. In his History of the
Church, Smith taught that the Second Coming would
occur between 1890 and 1891. Thus, in 1835 he declared
Christ’s return would occur fifty-six years later; and
in 1843 he predicted it would occur in forty-eight
years. Smith claimed that the generation then living
would not die "till Christ comes."29 For
example, under the date of April 6,1843, in his
original History (taken from Smith’s diary, March
10, 1843, to July 14, 1843) one can read, "I prophecy
[sic] in the name of the Lord God—& let it be
written: that the Son of Man will not come in the
heavens until I am 85 years old, 48 years hence or about
1890" (emphasis added).30 Of course. Smith
was dead within a year—and Christ still has not
Some of the twelve Mormon apostles were
told that they also would remain until Christ returned.
For example, according to the Tanners, Lyman E. Johnson
was told he would "see the Savior come and stand upon
the earth with power and great glory"; and William Smith
was told that he would "be preserved and remain on the
earth, until Christ shall come."31 Because of
such a strong belief in the imminence of the Second
Coming, Apostle Parley P. Pratt wrote in 1838:
state as a prophesy [sic], that there will not
be an unbelieving Gentile upon this continent 50 years
hence; and if they are not greatly scourged, and in a
great measure overthrown, within five or ten years
from this date, then the Book of Mormon will have
proved itself false.32
Perhaps not unexpectedly, the entire
prophecy has been deleted from the modern versions of
the Writings of Parley P.
But there have been many other false
prophecies throughout the history of the Mormon church,
far too numerous to list. We cite only seven others for
purposes of illustration:
1. In the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi
3:14 it is prophesied that "that seer" (which Mormons
interpret as Joseph Smith) will be protected by God:
"They that seek to destroy him shall be confounded;...
this promise... shall be fulfilled."
But it was not fulfilled, for "they that
seek to destroy him" did in fact destroy him at a young
age in 1844 when he was killed by townspeople in a gun
battle in Carthage, Illinois. Smith himself had said in
October, 1843, "I prophesy, in the name of the Lord
God of Israel... they never will have power to kill
me till my work is accomplished, and I am ready to die."33
But again, less than a year later, Joseph Smith was
dead. And according to accounts of his death, he
certainly was not yet "ready to die." While in jail,
facing the prospect of confronting the angry people that
would kill him, he quickly wrote to his Nauvoo Legion to
break into the jail and "save him at all costs."34
Eyewitnesses noted that just before he was shot he gave
the Masonic signal of distress and cried out, "Is there
no help... ?"—and then after he was shot came the
exclamation of unbelief, "Oh Lord; my God!"35
Furthermore, given the tremendous obstacles facing the
church he had founded, who could reasonably say his work
had been "accomplished?"
2. In Doctrine and Covenants,
(114:1) it was prophesied in the name of the Lord that
David W. Patten would go on a mission one year later:
thus sayeth the Lord: It is wisdom in my servant
David W. Patten, that he settle up all his business...
that he may perform a mission unto me next spring, in
company with others, even twelve including himself, to
testify of my name and bear glad tidings unto all the
This prophecy was given April 17, 1838.
Six months later, on October 25, 1838, David W. Patten
was shot and killed—he "instantly fell, mortally
wounded, having received a large ball in his bowels."36
No one can deny, then, that this is another false
prophecy. But if the Mormon God is genuine, why would He
prophesy that a man was to preach for Him whom He knew
would shortly be killed and thus be unable to fulfill
His mission? Patten’s death cannot be rationalized with
the claim that he was guilty of sin or apostasy because
Smith’s own remarks after his death claim he was a
faithful Mormon until his demise.37
3. On May 18, 1843, in the "name of the
Lord" and "in the name of Jesus Christ" Joseph Smith
prophesied the complete overthrow of the United States
Government. This never occurred, nor did the Government
ever redress "its crimes" as Smith promised:
Smith, in concluding his remarks, said... "I
prophesy in the name of the Lord of Israel, unless
the United States redress the wrongs committed upon
the saints in the state of Missouri and punish the
crimes committed by her officers that in a few years
the Government will be utterly overthrown and wasted,
and there will not be so much as a potsherd left"
prophesied by virtue of the holy priesthood vested in
me, and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,
that, if Congress will not hear our petition and grant
us protection, they shall be broken up as a
government, and God shall damn them, and there
shall be nothing left of them—not even a grease
But again, Congress never granted the
Mormons their petition. It correctly concluded
that Mormon problems with other settlers were a result
of their own religious excesses and evil practices such
as polygamy, violence against non-Mormons and their
terrible doctrine of blood atonement. In fact, the
Government so increased its pressure against the
polygamist activity of the church that a new
"revelation" in 1890 conveniently "reversed" the
polygamist doctrines which had prevented Utah’s entry
into the Union.
Thus, the United States Government was
not "utterly overthrown and wasted," nor was there
"nothing" left of it, "not even a grease spot." The
United States grew to become the most powerful nation on
4. In Doctrine and Covenants
(104:1) "Jesus" claimed that the Mormon "United
Order"—the Mormon communities in Ohio and Missouri—would
remain until He returned. However, the "United Order"
failed and was disbanded, and over 150 years later Jesus
still has not returned.
5. In the Book of Mormon (Alma
7:10) it is falsely prophesied that the Messiah will be
born in Jerusalem when, of course, He was born in
Bethlehem. Four biblical books of history attest to
Jesus’ birthplace as Bethlehem: one prophet who wrote a
miraculous prediction in 700 b.c., and three
contemporary biographers of Jesus (Micah 5:2; Matthew
2:4-6; Luke 2:4-7; John 7:42).
6. Heber Kimball falsely prophesied that
"Brother Brigham Young will become President of the
7. Joseph Smith’s father falsely
prophesied that Joseph, Jr., "should continue in the
Priest’s office until Christ comes."41
Many other false prophecies could be
With so many false prophecies by Smith
and other Mormons, one is tempted to assume that they
were either carried away by false visions of their own
mind or through spiritistic duplicity. Certainly a
truthful God could not be the author of such wrong
In spite of all these false prophecies,
again, Mormons do not show much concern about the issue.
Apparently, this is because they have never come to
grips with the biblical teaching on what God requires of
a true prophet and what a false prophet really is:
somewhat ironic that most Mormons are basically
unimpressed by the evidence against their "prophets"
concerning the many false prophecies that have issued
forth from them. This behavior is so unusual because
of the reverence Mormons give their Presidents as
"prophets of God." Their attitude of indifference is
primarily based upon ignorance and conditioning. The
average Mormon is unaware of the biblical tests for a
true prophet and is therefore ignorant of how to
properly determine if a man is a true prophet or a
false prophet. However, the greatest difficulty
Mormons have is overcoming their "conditioning." They
have been programmed to believe that the greatest test
of a prophet is their own personal "testimony" that he
is a prophet.43
But it must also be said that many
Mormons aren’t even aware of these false prophecies. For
example, if one examines the Doctrine and Covenants’
student manual, an extensive five-hundred-page
commentary on Doctrine and Covenants, one finds
that the false prophecies are either ignored or
carefully reinterpreted. For example, concerning the
rebuilding of the temple, the Manual equivocates
on the word "generation" and defines it as an indefinite
later excused the Saints from building that temple
because mobs prevented it... and because the Saints at
that time had not kept the commandments as they
should.... The day will come, however, when the holy
city of God will be established in Jackson County,
Missouri, and the temple will be filled with the glory
of God as envisioned by the prophets.45
This completely ignores the clear
statements of the prophecy itself that it must be built
in "this generation."
Its explanation of the Civil War prophecy
is equally distorting. The text cites various wars
around the world spanning almost a century, from 1861 to
1958. This is the alleged pouring out of wars upon "all
nations" as described in the prophecy. But anyone who
actually reads the prophecy can see that such an
interpretation is completely false. To claim that "the
Civil War was the beginning of the war that will bring
about the end of the world" (the "full end of all
nations" prophesied in D&C, 87:6) is a statement
that could be made for any war at any period of
history—if we are ignoring the factor of time.46
Again, anyone who reads the prophecy can see that it is
the end of the world itself that is predicted, and this
is to happen within a set period.
But again, what else can Mormon leaders
do when faced with proof of false prophecies? Being
unwilling to accept the implications, which would
require them to accept that Joseph Smith was a false
prophet and to thus have to forsake Mormonism, they
have no choice but to rationalize his failures. However,
in doing this, they are guilty of foisting a deliberate
deception upon unsuspecting converts and the very Mormon
people they claim to shepherd.
Talmadge, The Study of the Articles of Faith: Being
a Consideration of the Principle Doctrines of the
Churd of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt
Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, 1976), pp. 7-8.
2 Bruce R.
McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary,
Matthew-Revelation Vol. 1 (Salt Lake City, UT:
Bookcaraft, 1976), pp. 252-253.
Evening and Morning Star, July 1933, p. 1,
4 From an
analogy by Bob Whitte, "And It Came to Pass" (tract)
(Safety Harbor, FL: Ex Mormons for Jesus).
Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ by a
Witness to the Divine Authenticity of the Book of
Mormon (1887, rpt. Concord, CA: Pacific Publishing
Co., 1972), pp. 30-31.
Ankerberg, K. H. Christensen, Lawrence Flake, James
Bjornstad, Sandra Tanner, Ed Decker, Walter Martin,
"Mormon Officials and Christian Scholars Compare
Doctrines," (Chattanooga, TN: The John Ankerberg Show,
1983), program transcript, p. 7.
Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 1 (Salt Lake
City, UT: Deseret Book Company/The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1975), p. 400.
394, 400, 403, Walter Martin, The Maze of Mormonism,
rev. ed. (Santa Ana, CA: Vision House Publishers,
1978), pp. 353-354.
Young et al, Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p.
344, cited by Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The
Changing World of Mormonism: A Behind the Scenes Look
at Changes in Mormon Doctrine and Practice, rev.
ed. (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1981), p. 421.
Journal of Discourses, 13:362, cited in ibid.
Doctrine and Covenants, 1890 edition, Section 84,
Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn
1955, p. 74, cited in Jerald and Sandra Tanner,
Changing World, p. 422.
Fielding Smith, Way to Perfection (Salt Lake
City, UT: Deseret Book Company, 1975), pp. 268-271.
Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions
(Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Company, 1976), vol.
4, p. 122.
Ankerberg, Ed Decker, "Mormonism Revisited"
(Chattanooga, TN: The John Ankerberg Show, 1983),
program transcript, p. 19.
Articles of Faith, p. 25.
Doctrine and Covenants, 87:1-8.
Smith, History, 5:324, in Jerald and Sandra
Tanner, Changing World, p. 428, emphasis added.
"Rebellion in South Carolina" in The Evening and
Morning Star, January 1833 (This magazine was
available to Smith in December); Joseph Smith,
History, 1:301; Larry S. Jonas, Mormon Claims
Examined, 1961, p. 52 in Jerald and Sandra Tanner,
Changing World, pp. 424-425.
21 A civil
war was considered a possibility even before 1832.
This fact was discussed on American Adventure, a
two-part program on Jacksonian America on WTCI-TV34
Saturday, November 2, 1991, 7:00-8:00 am, produced by
the Dallas Community College. See also Jerald and
Sandra Tanner, Changing World, p. 425; Martin,
Maze, p. 357.
22 Harry L.
Ropp, The Mormon Papers: Are the Mormon Scriptures
Reliable? (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press,
retitled Are the Mormon Scriptures Reliable?
1987), p. 64.
and Sandra Tanner, Changing World, p. 430.
Journal of Discourses, 9:142-143, cited in Jerald
and Sandra Tanner, Changing World, p. 426.
Journal of Discourses, 10:250; see The
Millennial Star, 25:787.
and Sandra Tanner, Changing World, p. 430.
Smith, History, 5:336.
30 Cited in
Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Changing World, p.
32 This was
copied from the microfilm original at the Mormon
Church Historian’s Library; cf. Jerald and Sandra
Tanner, Changing World, p. 420.
History, 6:58, emphasis added.
34 Fawn M.
Brodie, No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph
Smith, 2nd ed, rev. (New York: Alfred Knopf,
1976), p. 392.
Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp.
Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret
Book Company, 1977), p. 302; cf. Smith, History,
Smith, Millennial Star, 22:455; cited in Bob
Whitte, "And It Came to Pass," (tract).
Journal of Discourses, 5:219.
42 See our
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Mormonism
(Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1992), p. 353n
for other examples.
Whitte, Witnessing to Mormons: Where Does it Say
That? (Safety Harbor, FL: Ex-Mormons for Jesus
Ministries, n.d.), p. 17.
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Doctrine
and Covenants Student Manual (Salt Lake City, UT:
Church Educational System, The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saint, 1981), p. 181.